A Letter to Dr. Mir about his study: Vaping among Canadians: Patterns of use, attitudes, and knowledge .


This is a letter that I (Maria Papaioannoy) wrote to Dr. Mir (View Dr. Mir’s Bio HERE) about his study:

Vaping among Canadians: Patterns of use, attitudes, and knowledge . 

I believe that quality research needs to be done around adults and vaping. I also believe in reaching out to people who are choosing not to learn about what they are researching. 

Below is the letter I wrote with real questions about their survey. 

Here is the survey if you would like to see for yourself. View survey HERE.

Here is my twitter rant about it. View on Twitter HERE


Dear Dr. Mir,

My name is Maria Papaioannoy, you might have noticed a tweet that I directed to you today with regards to your survey on vaping.

I want to being by saying it was refreshing to see a survey around vaping that was not focused only on teens.

As someone who has vaped since 2010, who has helped thousands of people a year with their vaping since 2013, and who has been an advocate for fair access to vaping products since 2015, I am sharing some feedback from my expertise on the subject of vaping.

It is clear that the individual that designed the survey has a limited understanding on how people vape, and not up to date on devices, design, regulations, product availability and market trends of Canadian consumers.  I think it is short sighted to not ask for help and work with people like me to ensure that what you are presenting is correct.

First, there is no conversation around flavours (which is the biggest debate in Canada and the world). The absence of flavours from your survey shows an assumption that adults don’t like flavours, and takes away the option of exploring how important they are to adults to stay smoke free.

Second, there is zero consistency for gathering data on age groups. You have three different ways to capture someone’s age (personally I changed age groups a number of times). Please see questions 1, 5 and 7.

Third, the devices used. All the devices mentioned (aside from JUUL) are irrelevant in today’s market. They are dated and currently illegal for sale in under TVPA. Furthermore, they are almost impossible to purchase anywhere in the world and coils are hard to come by.  Please see question 10

Fourth, nicotine content – Please note that anything over 20 mg is illegal for sale in Canada. Additionally, eliquid is made in two primary ways: traditional and salt nics.  Strengths vary,  you should have separated the two categories. In addition, you should have broken down the question with the most common strength variants. 3, 6 12 18 (Traditional) 10, 15, 20 (nic salts). Please see question 11

With regard to points three and four, if you are trying to conclude addiction, usage, the device and the type and strength of nicotine are relevant. A sub-ohm device (which you didn’t even include in your device selection), would give a user a much different experience when using 12mg of traditional vs. 12mg of salt, the same could be said of a refillable pod system and mouth to lung device – again not listed in your choices.

Vaping dependency. I think you are missing an opportunity to understand how people vape. The direct correlation between how people smoke and how people vape is evident in the bias. In most instances, people do not vape the same way they smoke. There is zero urgency to finish the product, which as a former smoker dictated how many puffs I took in any given time frame from my cigarette, when I use a vape I use it in a much different frequency.  Question 13-15

Vaping Perceptions. Why did the developer of this survey have NOT SURE or OTHER as the last option in questions 19, 20, 21 and 23 and in question 22 switch the NOT SURE option as second last.

Use of Other substances – why was there NOT an option as I don’t consume cannabis as an answer for questions 27?

In general, why was the term vaping not clearly defined in the study. The term vaping is used for both nicotine and cannabis products.

I think research is important, and data collection through surveys are important, what is also important if someone is gathering research they ask questions that make sense and are relevant to today’s society. If this survey was conducted in 2014 I would have less to argue. Since then, the products have changed and evolved with the needs of smokers. Please note, that the reason that vaping works for people is because the end user is in control of everything – temperature, airflow, flavour, strength experience. If you are truly looking to research this area I beg you to break free from the traditional Tobacco Control attitudes of not including the end users in the process and start to build relationships with people like me, that can be honest and challenge systemic beliefs around vaping.

There is much more that I would be happy to go over with you. I look forward to your response.

Maria Papaioannoy-Duic 

Smoke Free with Vaping since 2010

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